Need-based scholarships: These awards are limited to students who can show financial need, which can be measured by family income, assets or expected family Contribution, as determined from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, there is no universal definition of what constitutes need. One scholarship may target families earning less than $30,000 a year, while another award may set the limit at $90,000 a year. Make sure you know the facts of the scholarship before you decide not to apply.
Merit-based scholarships: These awards are based on a student’s achievements, ambitions and potential. Family finances are not considered. The term merit is broadly defined and does not necessarily mean academic achievement. Merit may include participation in extracurricular activities and sports, personal qualities such as leadership or character, intended major or career aspirations, or talent in the arts, science, music, dance or a foreign language.
Special Groups: Many scholarships are offered for either or both needs and merit based on your belonging to a certain special interest group. Some of these groups include minorities, student athletes, leaders, left-handed people, volunteers, and people pursuing a particular career such as engineering or physical education. If you belong to a special group, do a college search specifically for your area of involvement or interest.
Local Scholarships: There are several scholarships that students from your school will receive from community groups in your area. Some of these are “The Minerva Community Scholarship Fund”, “The Colburn Award”, and “The Crary Foundation”. Students will be given this information as it arrives at the Guidance Office.
On-Line Scholarship Search
FastWeb.com: The most complete source of local scholarships, national scholarships and college-specific scholarships.
Scholarships.com: Create your profile now and get immediate access to a full list of scholarship opportunities customized just for you. This expansive scholarship database is updated constantly, offering you current, accurate, and relevant information.
Many scholarship scams try to take advantage of students searching for money to attend college. The Federal Trade Commission cautions students to watch for these telltale warning signs of scholarship scams:
- “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
- “The scholarship will cost some money.”
- “I need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.”
- “You’re a finalist” in a scholarship contest you never entered.
- “You can’t get this information anywhere else.”